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Big Island and Maui review (long,long ,long)

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Big Island and Maui review (long,long ,long)

Kelly Migliaccio | Oct 27, 2005 12:52 PM

My husband and I spent two weeks in Hawaii-5 nights on the Big Island at Hapuna Beach Resort and 8 nights in Maui at the Kapalua Villas. Thanks to all who reviewed restaurants-esp on the Big Island since it was our first trip there. Here's where we ate.
Big Island:
Sat night-Mauna Kea clam bake-we wanted something near the hotel since we knew we would be tired from traveling two days. This was nice and casual-on the beach. The food was decent, but it was still a buffet and that showed with certain dishes. The Mahi-mahi was dry. They had alot of different fish-ahi sashimi, crab legs (which were difficult to eat), lobsters, prime rib, veggies, salad etc. Good but was it worth $175? No, but that night it was perfect for us. We went after dinner to Mant Ray Point right there at the resort. The have the water lit up and you can watch the Manta Rays swim around-pretty neat.
Sun-Thurs am-We had the breakfast buffet at Hapuna Beach Hotel which was really wonderful. Lots of choices with eggs, meat,fruit,cereals, made to order omletes and a Japanese buffet. Really good.
Sunday night-Merrimans-Waimea-This restaurant was really nice. The service was good and the food was good. I had the mac-nut crusted mahi-mahi and my husband had a soy marinated mahi I believe-his was better than mine, but both were good. Dessert included really wonderful homeade shortbread cookies that were so great.
Monday-Cafe Pesto-Hilo-Eh, I really wanted to love this place because it came so highly recommended by my fellow chowhounds, but I thought it was only ok. I should add however we had a VERY long day going to Volcano and this was on our way home. We split the shrimp nacho appetizer which is wontons with shrimp and sauce on top. My husband thought they were really good, but I didn't care for them. They had an odd sweet-smoky taste that I didn't like. My husband ordered one of their specialty pizzas-mushroom with artichoke and a gorgonzola sauce. He said it didn't have much mushroom flavor. I had a calzone. I asked for ham and spinach, but it arrived without the spinach. The waitress offered to bring a side of spinach, but it wouldn't be the same. Overall just ok.
Tuesday-Izakaya Kai-Wow this was a really great find. If it weren't for Chowhound we would have never gone to this restaurant. It's fairly small and we sat outside on a nice patio. The service was good and though there was some language barrier it really was not a big deal. We did order way too much food though. The meal started with complimentary edamame. We each had a Kona salad and then ordered appetizers-my husband had scallop skewers (the scallops were wrapped in bacon) and I ordered the gyoza. Both were good but we ended up feeding the scallops to the resident cat. My husband ordered sushi which was good and I had the yaki udon which was wonderful. We finished with green tea ice cream. This restaurant was definitely worth the drive to Kona!
Wednesday-Canoe House-Really awesome. Beautiful view. This was my favorite meal of the whole trip. It was just perfect. It's set near the beach-we had a great sunset and the service was good-really warm and friendly. My husband and I both had the portugese bean soup to start which was tasty. My husband also had the ahi poke whicgh was good. My entree was the best. It was a special of blackened blue-nose snapper in a cajun sauce with shrimp-just wonderful. My husband had the ahi and scallops entree which was good, but not as good as mine. I had the coconut trio for dessert which was good.
Thursday-Maui-Sansei-Kapalua-This place is just a mad house-so busy. We had been here before and enjoyed it and we enjoyed it again this time. We started with edamame. I had the shrimp and scallops in black bean sauce over pasta and my husband had sushi/sashimi. The food is good-the service was mediocre. I had told my husband that the best meals were the things other than sushi and afterward he wished he would have tried other things (the sushi was good though).
Friday-Plantation House-This was our 5th wedding anniversay. This is a pretty restaurant with a wonderful view from a hill overlooking Kapalua. I had really high hopes for this meal since it came so highly recommeded. The food was wonderful, however my husband and I felt like the ugly step-children here. We just felt like everyone else in the restaurant was getting better service than we were. They did know it was our anniversary-they brought over a card signed by the staff shortly after we sat down. It just seemed like other tables were being fawned over and we were somewhat ignored. At other tables the waiters were offering to take sunset pictures. We asked our waitress to take our photo and we were told "well you better hurry-your best shot is from this window"- as we husteled to the center window. The manager walked around to other tables to see how they were doing-not us. It was just weird. For my entree I had fish that was very good and my husband had a ribeye that had gorgonzola sauce that was wonderful. For dessert I ordered the chocolate pot de creme with the recommended port to accompany it. The pot the cremem was amazing-the best dessert of the whole trip. Basically it was like chocolate pudding on steroids-really rich,delicious and chocolately. The waitress unfortuanately forgot the port until we reminded her. She then came over and said "Oh that's too bad because the magic is in enjoying the port with the pot de creme"-duh!!! All in all a good restaurant, but service was definitly off.
Saturday-The Feast at Lele-We were luck and had front row seats so we had a great view of the show. The food and drink are better-IMHO-than OLL. It's table service and there's alot to eat. My major complaint about this was the emphasis by staff on gratutities. It was mentioned at least 4 times during the evening. Our luau was pre-paid but they gave us a bill at the end showing $206 due. When I explained to the waiter that we had prepaid he said "I know-that's just to show you how much to base your gratuity on". Really tacky I thought.
Sunday-morning-brunch at Kapalua Bay Hotel-this was really great. Beautiful view, lots of wonderul choices. Everything was very fresh and tasty.
They everything from a squeeze your own juice juice bar to sushi, chicken,salmon, smoked marlin, eggs benedict to a chocolate fountain for dessert. Good service as well. It's clear that the employees here are sad to see this place close. If you have the chance go to this place before April.
Sunday night-Nick's Fishmarket-Kea Lani-Wailea-This restaurant has probably the best service in Maui (at least as far as we've found). It's great to arrive before sunset and watch them light the torches. Good seafood. I had the mahi with truffled mashe potoates and a red wine sauce. Good, but it was a little too much truffle after awhile. My husband had a good dinner. After dinner we went up to the lobby lounge cigar bar and had an after dinner drink and my husband had a cigar-always an enjoyable night.
Monday-lunch-Mama Fish House-I understand the controversy regarding this restaurant. This was the second time we dined here-the first time was for diner on a previous visit. I recommend lunch over dinner because the view is better-though it really isn't my cheaper. The food is good, but for the price the portions are not large. My lunchtime entree was $42 and it had a 6 oz piece of fish in coconut sauce, some kahlua pork (so good!) and a bunch of wonderful island fruit. Good,but not worth $42. I really don't find it to be Disneyesque-although they really try to make it look like your dreams of polynesia. They also really don't have a gift shop here-just four display windows with t-shirt and hats for sale-not for nothing lots of restaurants in Maui have the same kind of thing.
Monday-dinner-Vino-Kaplua-This was really good. They've recently changed the restaurant to emphasize tapas (the they do have some entree size meals). They also have a large selection of wines by the glass at reasonable prices. We had the house raviolis which were very good and the beet salad which was also good. We then split the pork chop entree which was wonderful-very rich and delicious. I would definitely go back to this restaurant again.
Tuesday-dinner-Lahaina Fish Co-My husband wanted to try this restaurant. It was ok. There's not much of an atmosphere here-it kind of reminded me of a diner. It is however right on the water. Our table was changed three times before we sat to eat which was odd. I had the Ono which was dry-however I did ask to change the prepartion so that could have affected the outcome. My husband had a fish that I had never heard of and really enjoyed it.
Wednesday night-Giovannis Tomato Pie-I had a bad feeling about this from the start-and I was right. We came here after a sunset cruise with Gemini (which was nice except for the other people on board). My husband was in the mood for Italian. This place has no atmosphere. It's also open on one side so there's no air conditoiing. My husband had the seafood pasta which he asked for Fra Diavlo. He said it was ok. I had the penne vodka and it was bland. The garlic bread was not very garlicky. Well-live and learn-at least it wasn't really expensive.
Thursday-our last night-Pineapple Grill-Kapalua. This is a nice restaurant. It looks like it would have a nice view at sunset, but the night we ate here it was raining. The concierge at the Kaplua Villas said that it was ultra casual but I really didn't see that-it seemed pretty nice. The food and service were good. The fare is pretty hearty I had short ribs which were very tender and tasty and my husband had the chicken breast which was also very good.
Acouple of place that we enjoyed for lunch were the Hula Grill in Kaanapali-really good fish tacos, Korean chicken salad and Thai chicken pizza, The Beach house and Grill at the Ritz Carlton-beautiful-right on the beach-good food-not cheap though.
Sorry this is so long-I hope it helps others make there dining decisions.

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